Plants don't need regular watering: they do need regular inspection, to see whether they need watering. In warm weather or the growing and flowering season, they should be examined daily, for water often vanishes fast at such times.

The first thing to observe is the plant itself. If its leaves are drooping and flabby to the touch, water is needed. (If they are yellow and falling off, the trouble is likely to be too much water rather than too little.)

A plant that seems to use up its water very fast may have grown too big for its pot: tip it out gently, and if the roots are compacted, give it a larger pot.

The look of the soil can be misleading, for you see only the surface. Either press your finger in, or insert a skewer and see whether it comes out clean or with damp soil on it. If no soil clings, the plant is dry and water is needed.

Lifting a pot gives a good clue: light weight means that water is lacking. Tapping the pot (if it is made of clay) provides another test: a ringing sound, rather than a dull one, indicates lack of water. Another method is to keep a pebble on the soil: turn it over, and if its underside is not damp, water the soil. You can also buy a special probe which shows on a dial just how moist the soil is.